Design, simulation, manufacture and testing of a free-piston Stirling engine

Deetlefs, Ivan Niell (2014-12)

Thesis (MEng) -- Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to design and manufacture an experimentally testable free-piston Stirling engine (FPSE), including a linear electric generator; to develop and validate a theoretical simulation model; to identify problem areas pertaining to its manufacture; and finally to assess the work undertaken, to lay out the groundwork for the future development of a 3 kWe FPSE suitable for incorporation in a solar Stirling dish power generator. A redesigned version of the Beale B- 10B demonstrator engine was manufactured to overcome design diffculties and to simplify testing. The design made use of an electric generator designed at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University. Experimental measurements included piston and displacer motions, hot side and cold side temperatures, working space pressure, electric generator output, as well as heat rejection via a water jacket. Experimental measurements were taken prior to and subsequent to the addition of the electric generator. Indicated power was calculated as 0,659 W at a frequency of 10,99 Hz prior to the addition of the electric generator. The addition of the electric generator was unsuccessful since it was not well matched with the engine. The indicated power calculated was between 0,138 W and 0,144 W for different loads on the electric generator, while the electrical output power ranged from 1,23 mWe to 1,79 mWe. The addition of the electric generator produced non-continuous motion caused by magnetic forces instead of engine pressure variations. The major manufacturing diffculty was the attachment of magnets for the electric generator, but this was overcome with the manufacture of a special assembly jig. The theoretical simulation model was a combination of a third-order and dynamic analysis. Working space values were solved by the application of the conservation of mass, momentum and energy equations for a one-dimensional discretised model of the engine, while the motion of the piston and displacer was determined by applying the equations of motion. The majority of experimental measurements were predicted more accurately when higher heat transfer coeficients were used between the working space and wall temperatures. The theoretical simulation model was used to gain insight into the effect of input parameters on engine operation. The displacer rod diameter was shown to have implications on output power and stability, while it was shown that there is a natural tendency to deliver constant output power at a near-constant frequency over a range of piston loads for an FPSE. It was also shown that the design of an FPSE is complex and that the design of all components should be done in parallel. The control of an FPSE was seen to be both a necessity and can be used to exploit the advantages of the uncoupled nature of an FPSE.

AFRIKKANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie was om 'n eksperimentele toetsbare vrye-werksuier Stirling enjin te vervaardiging, wat 'n lineêre elektriese kragopwekker insluit; om 'n teoretiese simulasie model te ontwikkel en te yk; om vervaardiging probleme te identi seer; en om die ondernemende werk te assesseer om 'n fondasie te lê vir die toekomstige ontwikkeling van 'n 3 kWe vrye-werksuier Stirling enjin wat by 'n Stirling sonskottel ingelyf kan word. 'n Herontwerpte weergawe van die Beale B-10B demonstrasie enjin was vervaardig om ontwerp probleme te bowe te kom en om die toets daarvan te vereenvoudig. Die ontwerp het gebruik gemaak van 'n elektriese kragopwekker wat by die Departement Elektriese en Elektroniese Ingenieurswese aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch ontwerp is. Eksperimentele metings het die werksuier en verplaser bewegings ingesluit, sowel as die warm kant en koue kant temperature, die werkruimte druk, die elektriese uitset van die kragopwekker, sowel as die hitteuitruiling wat met 'n water verkoelingskringloop gepaard gaan. Eksperimentele metings was geneem voor en na die byvoeging van die elektriese kragopwekker. Kraglewering was bereken op 0,659 W teen 'n frekwensie van 10,99 Hz voordat die elektriese kragopwekker bygevoeg is. Die byvoeging van die elektriese kragopwekker was onsuksesvol omdat die nie gepas was vir die enjin nie. Die kraglewering is bereken op vlakke wat gewissel het tussen 0,138 W en 0,144 W vir die verskillende belastings op die elektriese kragopwekker, terwyl die elektriese uitset gewissel het tussen 1,23 mWe en 1,79 mWe. Die byvoeging van die elektriese kragopwekker het 'n nie-aaneenlopende beweging veroorsaak weens die magnetiese kragte wat dit beinvloed het in plaas van enjindruk variasies. Die belangrikste ontwerpuitdagings was die ontwerp van 'n werksuier en verplaser wat 'n klein toleransie passing kon handhaaf om sodoende 'n seël te verseker terwyl dit aan temperatuur variasies blootgestel was. Die grootste vervaardigingsprobleem was die aanheg van magnete vir die elektriese kragopwekker, maar dit is te bowe gekom deur 'n spesiale voeg te vervaardig. Die teoretiese simulasie model was 'n kombinasie van 'n derde-orde en 'n dinamiese analise. Werkruimte waardes was opgelos deur die toepassing van die behoud van massa, momentum en energie vergelykings vir 'n een-dimensionele gediskretiseerde model van die enjin, terwyl die beweging van die werksuier en verplaser bepaal was deur die toepassing van die bewegingvergelykings. Die meerderheid van die eksperimentele metings was meer akkuraat voorspel wanneer hoër warmteoordrag koë siënte tussen die werkruimte en muurtemperature gebruik was. Die teoretiese simulasie model was gebruik om insig in terme van die e ek van invoer veranderlikes op die enjin gedrag te toon. Daar was getoon dat die verplaserstaaf diameter implikasies het op kragoplewering en stabiliteit, terwyl die natuurlike tendens van 'n vrye-werksuier Stirling enjin gewys was om 'n konstante kraguitvoer te lewer op 'n naby-konstante frekwensie oor 'n reeks werksuier laste. Daar was ook gewys dat die ontwerp van 'n vryewerksuier Stirling enjin kompleks is en dat die ontwerp van alle komponente in parallel gedoen moet word. Die beheer van 'n vrye-werksuier Stirling enjin was gewys om beide noodsaaklik te wees, sowel as gebruik kan word om die unieke voordele van 'n vrye-werksuier Stirling enjin se ongekoppelde natuur te ontgin.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95922
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